Summer of Campus Improvements
New coffee shop, upgrades and beautifications
It’s a busy summer for landscapers and construction crews on the Columbia International University campus with upgrades and beautification projects bringing more of what new CIU President Dr. Mark Smith calls “the wow factor.”
Some of the work has been general maintenance such as new roofs to the Student Center and Fisher Classroom Building, improved landscaping including irrigation systems, and resurfacing of some parking lots and the outdoor basketball courts and tennis courts.
More noticeable “Wow” improvements include the lobby of the Administration Building where the university receptionist greets visitors from a new front desk that faces the front door. In addition is a new large CIU logo above the receptionist, new carpeting, furniture and chandelier. Two of the lobby walls are lined with an updated timeline featuring highlights of CIU’s nearly 100-year history.
But probably the biggest “Wow” for students is the new coffee shop in the Student Center. It’s operated by Grace Coffee Company founded by CIU alumni couple Matt and Brooke Beyer, both of whom graduated in 1999. The Beyers have a long association with CIU. Matt’s father is Dr. Bryan Beyer, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Matt was in the third grade in 1985 when his parents moved to Columbia and his father took a position as a CIU professor.
The Beyers headquarter their business out of mobile unit stationed along Main Street in the north Columbia suburb of Blythewood. Matt Beyer says the menu consists of brewed coffee, cold brew nitro coffee, lattes, espresso, frappes, tea, and more. Want something else?
“Our baristas can serve just about anything you can dream up,” Beyer said.
There’s another CIU alumni connection to Grace Coffee Company. Their fair trade organic coffee is locally roasted on a weekly basis by Beach Loveland, a 2009 CIU graduate. Loveland operates his own coffee kiosk in Irmo, just northwest of Columbia.